Clozapine reduces alcohol drinking in Syrian golden hamsters

Psychiatry Research
Alan I GreenJ J Schildkraut


Alcohol abuse contributes substantially to the overall morbidity of schizophrenia. While typical antipsychotic medications do not limit alcohol use in patients with schizophrenia, emerging data suggest that the atypical antipsychotic clozapine does. To further elucidate the effects of these antipsychotics on alcohol use, we initiated a study in alcohol-preferring rodents. Syrian golden hamsters were given free-choice, unlimited access to alcohol. Nine days of treatment (s.c. injection) with clozapine (2-4 mg/kg/day), but not haloperidol (0.2-0.4 mg/kg/day), reduced alcohol drinking. Clozapine reduced alcohol drinking by 88% (from 11.3+/-1.7 to 1.4+/-0.2 g/kg/day) while increasing both water and food intake. Alcohol drinking gradually (during 24 days) returned toward baseline in the clozapine-treated animals when vehicle was substituted for clozapine. Further increasing the doses of haloperidol (0.6-1.0 mg/kg/day) had no effect on alcohol drinking; moreover, very low doses of haloperidol (0.025-0.1 mg/kg/day) tested in separate groups of hamsters also had no effect on alcohol drinking. This study demonstrates that clozapine, but not haloperidol, can effectively and reversibly decrease alcohol consumption in alcohol-preferring ha...Continue Reading


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